Problems being in the same class in Pre-K

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by eagleswings216, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. eagleswings216

    eagleswings216 Well-Known Member

    My boys are on their second year of Pre-K (December birthday, so they will be 5 in December).  Sorry, this is going to be long.
    Having them together has not been good.  At the daycare pre-K last year, they only had one class for their age, but ended up putting one of them in the older class because they are big for their age and smart, and the teacher couldn't handle them together behaviorally (early 20's teacher with limited experience).  As soon as they were separated, their behavior was 90% better and we got very few complaints any more.
    Now, we have them in a different pre-K in a private school, and they have to be in the same class, although they divide into groups at some points in the day since they have two different rooms and several aides.  It's not going well despite a very experienced teacher (a mom herself, 20 yr teacher, etc.) and aides who use a lot of structure and discipline techniques.  They are constantly in trouble - not lining up, running off and laughing, getting into verbal and physical fights with each other (Friday they started hitting each other because one had a sticker that the other did not).  Usually if one is getting in trouble or being difficult, the other one follows along.  They get along much better with other kids than each other, and most of their "fights" are with each other.
    We struggle with these behaviors at home, too, and the modeling and structure at school is not helping like we hoped.  DH and I both have backgrounds in education and children, and have tried various methods of discipline over the last couple of years and they continue to be very difficult when with each other and feed off of each other.  Separate, they are not so bad, we just can't seem to get them to do well together.  They are very smart, but very impulsive, and honestly, I think they are probably candidates to be diagnosed with ADHD later on (I'm a counselor for children, so I actually have the credentials to diagnose these sorts of issues).
    We are at a loss about what to do next year.  Their current school (private Christian school) is small, and there is basically almost no chance they will have two kindergarten classes.  The public school they are eligible to go to is a city school, which means multiple classes and they could be separated, but it's a bit of a rough school in terms of the things that happen there (my husband works in the same school division, and my mom used to work at the school).  There are a lot of very challenging kids there, and we are not happy with the idea of sending them where they could pick up on even MORE problem behaviors than we already have.  With their impulsivity, they would just follow along and do what others are doing and have no restraint. 
    In our area, you either go to the school district you live in, you go to a private school, or you move.  There are no other private schools in the right direction of our travel to work - there are 3-4 others, but they are all 20-30 minutes or more in the opposite direction of where we both go for work.  So our choices are: current school in the same class, concerning public school in separate classes, or move before August.
    For anyone who has had kids who do so badly together, is there ANY hope that this will get better throughout the course of a year?  DH is still holding out hope, but I am less than optimistic.  In my mind, we either leave them where they are and know they will be in constant trouble all next year, OR we start now thinking about moving.  Even if they ARE diagnosed with ADHD, they are too young for medication, so that's not even a possibility at this point.
    Mentally, I'm just not READY for a move.  Our house is okay, but I would like something a little bigger and with more outside space for the kids to play. But just the thought of trying to get it all clean and organized and KEEP it that way with two messy 4-year-old boys is exhausting and I might lose my mind in the process.  We might be able to financially swing buying a house and vacating this one before listing it for sale, but that's a huge risk and one I'm not sure I'm willing to take.
    Another factor is I likely won't have the same job this time next year.  I'm finishing my counseling licensure hopefully this summer, so I will be looking for a better paying job, so moving before I start a job search might not be the best idea.  Our current house is really centrally located between the two cities where most of the job opportunities are.
    Anyone have any advice or insights?  Is there any hope their behaviors together will get better?  Or is that just a pipe dream?  Are we doing long term harm by keeping them together next year?  I just don't know what to do.
  2. Fran27

    Fran27 Well-Known Member

    Well you're talking about kindergarten. I don't really know how 'challenging' 6 year olds can be, whatever district they are in. If it was me, I'd send them to the public school next year, and this way once you find a job, you would have more money to afford to move (we rented for a year until our house sold when we moved, for what it's worth, which made it much easier to keep it clean and fix it up for sale as we were not living in it) and they would be in a better school for 1st grade at least. For this year though, yeah I don't think there's much you can do, but I get it, I was totally against my kids being together for this reason.
  3. eagleswings216

    eagleswings216 Well-Known Member

    Believe me, 6 year olds can be bad.  My mom was an aide in this school and regularly had kids beating each other up, bringing weapons to school, one kid broke a glass bottle and was trying to cut other kids with it at the bus, etc. (and yes, my mom worked in the kindergarten class).  Lots of violence, and also very little discipline by the school administration, which makes it worse, and about a 50% turnover in teachers each year.  Most of the teachers there have only been teaching for a couple of years because once they realize how difficult this school is, they ask to move somewhere else or leave for another school division entirely.  We have lived here for 13 years, since long before our kids came along, and we have always known that we would not want to send our kids to that school because it is hands down the worst school in this area for violence, drugs, etc.
  4. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I'd see how they settle in and make a target date to make a decision. My boys sound a lot like yours, and it just took them FOREVER to finally figure out how to stay out of trouble at their daycare. Now we're a bit back to square one with kinder, but it's less serious listening issues. They are in the same class and do play off each other to some extent, but it has lessened a great deal. If you could diagnose 5 year olds with ADHD, I am quite sure mine would be up there, but they have also changed so much over the last year that I never would have predicted that kinder would even be possible. Basically, what I am (clumsily) saying is, maybe the issue needs some time and for the teacher to figure out the right thing for them. We found their peers to be powerful motivators for keeping them in line too. Do they have other friends at school? Maybe invite some of the calmer ones over for a playdate, or see if you could drop them off one at a time for playdates?
  5. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    It sounds like you live in area like I do, the public schools have a lot of problems and the private schools are too small. I'd love to be able to afford to move.   My kids were together in kindergarten and pre-K and they got along pretty well-but mine are VERY shy and would stick to each for company rather than engage other kids.  Their kindergarten teacher did a great job in keeping them separated and encouraging them to play with other kids.  While still on the shy side, in first grade, they are in separate classes and they are getting more confident in playing and interacting with other kids without their sibling around.
    That being said, with your boys, it could just be a maturity issue.  Kids change SO much from pre-K to kindergarten and from kindergarten to first grade.  You might see a big difference in them just from now and June.  I would, at this moment, work with the teachers about the behaviors that need to be improved.  Are there strategies that you do at home that perhaps the teacher can use with them at school and vice versa? If you are not seeing the improvement over the school year, I'd have to agree with Fran and at the very least do the public school for kindergarten and then see how things go-if you should move or they've changed enough, they could go back to the private school.  Please keep us posted with how things are going with them!
  6. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    My kids are together, as well, in an Advanced Kindergarten class and it's going so well I just emailed the teacher to get a handle on my one son's behavioral reports.  [email protected]
    Do you have any good charters in your area? I'm finding that my neighborhood schools are all terrible, violent places as well and am not considering most of them. If my boys are eligible for G&T classes they will be guaranteed the same class through elementary school, which I hate. It's probably more likely that 1 will test in and the other won't; so I'm flirting with a couple of charters that are rigorous academically and will hopefully feed my one son's need to move. I think most of his behavior problems are that he's just sitting too long.
  7. eagleswings216

    eagleswings216 Well-Known Member

    There aren't any charter schools in our area.  Our state isn't big on charter schools - the only two in the state that I even know of are several hours north of here, so that's not an option.  The city we live in has not so great schools academically AND behaviorally.  If we could move to the nearby county, the schools there are much  better, and I'd definitely send them there without hesitation.  That's why we're thinking about moving.
    The other issue is, if we give up our spot in the private school, we might not be able to get it back mid-year or even the next year.  The private schools here are small, but also hard to get into.  By about April of the year before, usually the spots are all filled for the following year, so we can't even wait until summer to decide.
    I just wish I had a crystal ball to know how things will be in next year.  Ugh.
  8. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    Honestly, Charters are not all they are cracked up to be--and they usually kick out the "non-perfect" students--that is why they "appear" to be good.  Yes, there are exceptions, but in general, when you compare charter student to like ability public school kids, the public school kids are on par or out perform the charter school kids.  The difference is that charters don't have to educate everyone, and the public schools do--charters also pull funds from public schools.
    Anyway, it sounds like moving is your best option.  You can always keep the spots at the private school "just in case" and drop out over the summer if it the other option pans out--many people do that, and that is why they maintain a waiting list.
    2 people like this.
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